So it looks like my posting on obeche wood has been getting a lot of attention so I decided to look into it a little further. Most notably, Gibson, has started to use obeche more. The gothic morte guitars lines, SG and Les Paul both, use it for their fretboards. The most common fretboard materials are ebony, rosewood and maple.
However, there is something very interesting when you look on wood provider sites, not musical instrument sites. The wood is described as light and cream coloured, which does not match its ebony appearance on the fretboards of the pictures from Gibson. Also on http://www.connectedlines.com/wood/wood46.htm they say that the wood is not good for use in musical instruments. This probably means as a resonating tone wood it is poor.
One thing guitar maker could be doing is staining the wood to make it look more like the traditional rosewood finger board. Guitar fretboards are also known for using hard and dense woods but this one seems to be light, easy to carve and bendable. I have yet to try one of the guitars but it seems like a weird change to go from these hard woods to a softer one.
It also is listed here as plentiful, but on the Wikipedia page it is classified as a least concern endangered tree. What I am getting from this is that there are some wild inaccuracies, or there are 2 different types of wood colloquially called Obeche, but both sources site Triplochiton scleroxylon as the genus and species name. Curious.
ed 11/18/2011 – Now I know that least concern means not endangered at all, my bad.
Here are some links to things I referred to earlier
http://www.shergold.co.uk/faq.html – This is the FAQs from Shergold guitars who used to make Obeche guitars. In the section on the wood he talks about qualities that to me seem inadequate for a guitar body and much less a fretboard. However the wood grain does look nice.
If anyone has any more information, leave a comment or email me at Verdi429@gmail.com . This has opened up a lot more questions than answers for me.
On an unrelated note Country Music Awards are on ABC tonight at 8 pm.